"When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, He responded with (if I may paraphrase), to love God first, with all your heart, mind and soul. And then to love others, as yourself."
I have addressed this most unusual term before. This word of Greek origin, Agape, describes a type of love which is indescribable. Now what in the world does that mean? It means a love with no boundaries and no conditions. It is a type of love which mankind does not really understand as it goes against our human nature. Our love, always seems to have boundaries and conditions of some kind.
Easter has always been the most perfect example of God's agape love for us. He sent his only Son to Earth, become man, and live among us. Rather than being treating his like the Messiah, He was doubted, ridiculed, mistreated, tortured, and then killed in the most cruel fashion. And God allowed that to happen - because of this fierce love He has for each of us. Most, if not all, marvel yet do not understand that kind of love.
Now comes the tough part for us with agape love. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, He responded with (if I may paraphrase), to love God first, with all your heart, mind and soul. And then to love others, as yourself. After Easter, when Jesus was resurrected, He told us to take His message to all corners of the Earth. Yes, the greatest commandment is a vital part of that message. This became the Great Commission.
Agape. When God tells us He loves each and every one of us, He is talking about the deserving and the undeserving. Yes, he is talking about the unlovable as well as lovable. To take the message to all corners of the globe means North Korea, Syria, Iran, you name the hot spot. Yes, God is asking us to spread the message of His love even into countries where the simple mention of His name or the sign of the cross is a death sentence.
Truthfully, most of us will not practice the extremes of the Great Commission by being missionaries in a far off land. But we can try to fine tune our love at home. We can witness constantly that we belong to God. And most of the witnessing can be done by how we treat each other. By loving the unlovable as well as the lovable. Doing small things, as well as things not so small. Maybe even a smile, a greeting, holding a door, or letting an unkind word go unsaid.
I am going to close this thought by telling a story about a young man I served with on Okinawa. His name was Jody. One of the nicest and kindest people I have ever met. Deep in his faith, Jody never proselytized. He just lived his faith each and every day. He had an inner peace and joy which shined like a beacon within him. Jody loved his God, and he loved God's people. Jody really understood - he got it.
This Easter, every Easter, I think of agape love. Even though it is something we may never achieve, it is something to which we can all aspire. The Easter story is agape love. God's agape love which gave us all, hope eternal.